9 Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Wedding Officiant

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Your wedding officiant is the ringleader of the main event. He or she plans and guides the tone for the entire ceremony. Before you book a wedding officiant to serve at your wedding ceremony, ask yourself the following questions to find the right person to perform your ceremony.

Religious or Secular?
Make sure that you and your partner are in full agreement on this before seeking out officiants. Family can heavily influence this decision. If not in agreement, find a way to compromise — there are dozens of ways to incorporate cherished beliefs and traditions. Brainstorm three ways you’d be willing to compromise and have your partner do the same. Pick the one that satisfies both of you.

Have We Budgeted for Our Wedding Officiant?
Depending on whom you choose to perform the wedding ceremony, fees or donations may apply. Just as with other wedding vendors, you should ask them what the fees include, and whether you must pay a deposit up front to reserve the date.

Does Experience Matter When Choosing an Officiant?
Would you mind that your officiant has only performed a few services, or do you desire someone a bit more seasoned? Many couples have a friend or family member who has been certified by their state to perform ceremonies. How comfortable are you with their ability to plan a ceremony for the first time? Communicate these concerns if you have them and work to resolve them during the planning stage.

What Are Our Expectations of the Officiant?
What do you two, as a couple, expect of the person who marries you? Do you envision your clergy person to wear traditional vestments or a suit? Do you have special scriptures or poems you want to hear during your ceremony? For good communication and a smooth ceremony, ask these questions during your initial interview, or well prior to the wedding rehearsal.

Do We Plan to Follow a Traditional Service According to Our Faith or Create Our Own Ceremony Service?
Some clergy members strictly follow traditional orders of service specific to their faith. Perhaps you want to write your own vows or you want both your mother and father to escort you down the aisle.

Discuss these decisions with your officiant in advance to gauge whether he or she agrees with your wedding wishes and plans.

Are We Available to Attend Premarital Counseling?
In some faiths, couples are required to participate in premarital counseling. Be sure you can schedule the extra time for counseling visits if your heart is set on booking an officiant who follows this tradition.

What Will We Do If the Officiant Cancels at the Last Minute?
Will your officiant have a selected backup, or would you need to find an alternate yourselves? In many states, a registered officiant is required to perform a legal marriage, so the show will not go on without him/her. Ask the vendor about his or her cancellation/rescheduling policy in case of an unforeseen emergency.

Are We Comfortable with this Person?
Gauge your trust and ease when you first meet the officiant. More than any other vendor, you and your groom should have a good rapport with him or her. Their job is to beautifully articulate your personal views on the significance of marriage and allow your love to shine through during the ceremony.

Will Our Wedding Day Affect the Availability of Certain Officiants?
Many couples choose to get married on an off day (other than Saturday). If regular religious services are held that day of the week, you’ll want to sort out scheduling issues that may arise. Also, many rehearsals are done the day prior to the wedding. Is he or she available for both dates?

These questions are designed to help you narrow down what you want in your wedding officiant. Ideally, you should look for someone who best reflects your ideals and beliefs and can confidently plan out your ceremony to comply with your state’s laws.

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